OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Both parties in the Fulton County, Georgia lawsuit pertaining not an audit of ballots in the 2020 election have parts of a victory in a new ruling by a state judge.
The good news for those who are seeking an audit is that Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero has allowed the lawsuit to proceed, NBC News reported.
A judge on Thursday allowed a lawsuit alleging fraud in Georgia’s most populous county during the November election and seeking a review of absentee ballots to move forward.
Originally filed in December, the lawsuit says there is evidence of fraudulent ballots and improper ballot counting in Fulton County. The county, county elections board and county courts clerk had filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit. They argued, among other things that the lawsuit was barred by sovereign immunity, a principle that says state and local governments and can only be sued if they agree to it.
After holding a hearing on those motions Monday, Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero, who was specially appointed to preside ver the case, agreed. He ruled that the constitutional claims against those three entities are barred by sovereign immunity and dismissed them. But he also granted a request by the petitioners to add the individual members of the county election board as respondents in the lawsuit instead.
The suit was filed by nine Georgia voters and is spearheaded by Garland Favorito, a longtime critic of Georgia’s election systems. As part of the suit, they are seeking to inspect some 147,000 absentee ballots to determine whether there are illegitimate ballots among them.
But the judge dismissed the majority of the lawsuit that is looking for a deep dive into absentee ballots to find voter fraud.
Amanda Clark Palmer, an attorney for Fulton County, said this week that state investigators have already reviewed the absentee ballots and did not find evidence of fraud, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
“They think they will be able to come back to the court and say, ‘Look, now we can show you there’s fraud or counterfeit ballots,’” she said to the judge. “But they’re going to have to plead that in a complaint. They haven’t done it so far.”
The complainants said that the judge needed to allow the inspection to continue to prevent voter fraud from happening in the county in the future.
“You hear incredulous arguments that you would expect to hear in Cuba made in a court here in this country that fiddle dee dee, these petitioners don’t have a right to redress in this court,” Bob Cheeley, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said. “There was unlawful activity. There was unlawful acts at Fulton County on the night of the election.”
“I think it’s important that I take a little bit of time to review it and think about it,” Amero said during a hearing.
Amero says he will issue an opinion as quickly as possible, but he feels the need to take some time to fully consider the arguments.
— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) June 21, 2021
Originally filed in December, the lawsuit says there is evidence of fraudulent ballots and improper ballot counting in Fulton County.
As part of the suit, the nine Georgia voters who filed it are seeking to inspect some 147,000 absentee ballots to determine whether there are illegitimate ballots among them.
In April, Amero ordered the court clerk to release the scanned absentee ballot images.
At a hearing last month, Amero ordered that the paper ballots themselves be unsealed so that the petitioners who filed the lawsuit can inspect and scan them.
Amero had scheduled a meeting for May 28 but lawyers for the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections filed a last-minute motion to the court to dismiss the election fraud case brought by Garland Favorito and others before the forensic audit is launched.
At the time, Amero granted a delay to hear motions filed by Fulton County.